Campground Insurer Looks at the Fire Risks
Editor's Note: This column was provided by Evergreen USA.
Evergreen has seen a rise in the number of fire departments that are charging for their services when a fire occurs – especially in rural areas with volunteer fire departments. It’s a sign of the times. Local property taxes fund a department’s capacity to respond, and additional service fees pay for the increased cost of responding.
So – what would it cost for a fire department to respond to a fire at a campground or RV Park?
Most towns and cities have local codes limiting what their fire department can charge. While some areas do not make a charge – many do. Some towns allow charges as high as $20,000 or more. The majority limit their charges to $500 or $1,000 for the fire department to respond to a fire at a commercial building.
However, in the event of a significant fire, there are often multiple departments responding. Many fire departments have agreements for other fire departments to assist them in the case of large fires or to back up their stations while they are fighting a fire. It is not unusual in the case of a large fire to have half a dozen different fire departments fighting a fire and another half a dozen that are not at the fire but on duty backing up those departments who are fighting the fire. That’s a dozen potential charges.
Here is an example of how these increased charges can add up. A camping resort in rural Wisconsin suffered a fire at their main office building. Their local volunteer fire department responded. They charged $500 for the initial response, plus an additional $150 for each truck on the scene for more than one hour. The fire took a few hours to extinguish and one truck was on scene throughout the night to extinguish the remaining embers. Fortunately, the town had capped their maximum fire service charge at $1,500 so they were only charged $1,500 by their town. However, there were three other fire departments that also responded – one did not charge and the other two charged $1,000 each. Two other departments had to move a couple trucks from their town to the responding departments towns to provide coverage in case of another fire. One did not charge and the other charged $600. The total fire department service charge came to $4,100.
In this example, if this campground owner insured their property with Evergreen, the resort would have up to $25,000 of coverage for Fire Department Service Charges available. This $25,000 of fire department service charge coverage is in addition to the building coverage limit so it does not reduce the amount of coverage they have to collect on the fire damage to their building.
As part of a regular review of your insurance coverages, do not overlook the importance of Fire Department Service Charges. Most standard commercial insurance policies will pay up to $1,000 for this coverage, but each company is different. It is important to note that this coverage only responds for charges for calls to save or protect property from a covered peril (such as fire). As part of the Evergreen Protection Plus Endorsement, clients insuring their property with Evergreen benefit from $25,000 of coverage for fire department service charges.